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Review / ‘Paddington’ (G) *** and a half

IN a Peruvian jungle, explorer Montgomery Clyde befriends an extraordinary bear species hitherto unknown to science. It can speak human-speak. Its preferred diet is marmalade sandwiches. Clyde assures Mr and Mrs Bear that their family will always find a welcome in London. The first live-action feature starring Michael Bond’s literary creation that has delighted children […]

Review / ‘Horrible Bosses 2′ (MA) No stars

AS Sean Anders’s sequel to Seth Gordon’s 2011 pungent dissection of business power plays progressed, I suppressed an urge to walk out. The moments of best merit in “HB2”, jointly directed by Anders and Gordon, involve cameos from Kevin Spacey, in jail where “HB1” left him, all venom and bile, and Jennifer Aniston as a […]

Review / ‘Folies Bergere’ (M) *** and a half

MARC Fitoussi’s agreeable film arrives here with a minor identity crisis. “La Ritournelle” in its native French, in the US it’s “Paris Follies”. None of the three is totally appropriate. On a Normandy farm, Brigitte (Isabelle Huppert) and Xavier (Jean-Pierre Darroussin), both in their 50s, are successful breeders of Charolais cattle, winning prizes with their […]

Review / ‘Particle Fever’ (M) *** and a half

YOU don’t need a degree with distinctions in physics to take satisfaction and benefit from Mark Levinson’s documentary shot inside and about the biggest machine yet made, the Large Hadron Collider or LHD. The scale and engineering of the LHD are visually breathtaking. The intellectual energy and complexity of the science is mind-boggling. The LHD’s […]

Review / ‘Love Is Now’ (M) *** and a half

DIRECTOR Jim Lounsbury’s screenplay for this romantic drama has an agreeable freshness speckled with moments that, by sometimes not adding up, add to its challenges. Mercurial free spirit Audrey (Claire van der Boom), scarcely acquainted with aspiring photographer Dean (Eamon Farren), responds to an instant fizz of attraction by suggesting that they get on their […]

Review / ‘Serena’ (MA) ***

WHAT’S not to like about a gutsy melodrama? Director Susanne Bier engaged art director Martin Kurel to convert a Czechoslovakian valley into a 1920s North Carolina logging camp. There, adapting Ron Rash’s book, Christopher Kyle’s screenplay builds melodrama’s foundation when timber tycoon George (Bradley Cooper) gallops after a spectacular platinum blonde astride a galloping white […]

Review / ‘A Thousand Times Good Night’ (M) ****

NORWEGIAN Erik Poppe knows exactly what reporting terrible events in the Middle East or heartbreaking conditions in Africa involves – he was a reporter before becoming a filmmaker. Written by Harald Rosenløw Eeg, Poppe’s film pulls no punches creating realities to show risks. The opening sequence is a slow-paced almost poetic preparation of an event […]

Review / ‘Men, Women and Children’ (MA) *** and a half

FILMMAKER Jason Reitman casts a dispassionate eye over how social media influences life in the developed countries (thank heaven he forbore from including their use by bad guys in current Middle Eastern conflicts). Adam Sandler plays a husband and father who uses internet porn as a surrogate for late-night connubiality. Rosemarie DeWitt plays his wife […]

Review / ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1′ (M) ***

PITCHED at young adult audiences, the film of Suzanne Collins’ futurist political fantasy pseudo-science-fiction novel basically bored me in the same way as does listening to Tony Abbott and his coterie of Ministers. That doesn’t deny that its plot, adapted by Collins and moulded into a screenplay by Peter Craig and Danny Strong, made me […]

Review / ‘The Dark Horse’ (M) **** and a half.

REMEMBER “Once Were Warriors” (1994)? Or “Boy” (2010)? When Kiwi filmmakers get their creative teeth into a tough topic, the result can be, often is, a shattering experience for filmgoers. Chess as a spectator sport ? You’d better believe it. James Napier Robertson’s film begins with Genesis Potini walking aimlessly in the rain. Seeing a […]